Welcome to the 4th and final part of Geek's Super Summer Film Preview focusing on the month of August (and an extra one from September)!
We put together a panel of experts to share their thoughts about their candid hopes, dreams and fears for the upcoming crop of prospective blockbusters. They are:
The Producer// a savvy maker of many well-known film and TV series.
The Fanboy// a devoted (and deodorant using) expert of geek cinema.
The Webmaster// behind one of the Internet’s most popular film and TV fan sites.
The Screenwriter// who has rewritten and rewritten some of the biggest genre blockbusters of the last decade.
Each expert weighed in anonymously to offer frank insight in this summer’s most eagerly awaited motion pictures.
Release: August 9
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Sharlto Copley
Screenwriter/ Director: Neill Blomkamp
The Plot: In the future (2159, to be specific) the poor live on a dying Earth on the verge of being uninhabitable while the privileged live on a beautiful, safe, clean space station. Matt Damon plays a man who could make everything right so there’s equality among the social classes.
The Skinny: Even though the concept of the rich representing the 1 percent of our society and everyone else being the 99% wasn’t officially in the ether when Blomkamp wrote the film, those themes are nonetheless present with this story, making the movie timelier. “The film definitely has elements of the haves and the have-nots, but it’s weaved into a tapestry that feels like an organic science-fiction thrill ride,” says Blomkamp. “The themes are touched upon in a fairly realistic, but not over-the-top way.”
Blending commentary and science fiction is a tricky beast, but Foster feels it works seamlessly in this movie. “It’s tough to create an intelligent movie that’s a socio-political commentary that’s also moving and where you can blow things up at the same time,” says Foster. “It’s something Neill does well.”
The Fanboy// I’m dying to see how Blomkamp’s second movie turns out, actually.
The Producer// Damon usually makes great choices and having him in a Blomkamp film should be interesting. Truly the only big sci-fi movie of the summer that I’m really interested in.
The Webmaster// Blomkamp made a name for himself with District 9, which I didn’t like, so I’m not lining up for this one opening weekend. I do like Damon, but I’m going to take the wait-and-see approach on this one.
The Screenwriter// Blomkamp earned street cred with District 9, but something about Elysium feels like it’s missing his first film’s perfectly balanced tone. We know it will be well made and smart, but it appears more interested in being smart than being engaging.
Release: August 16
Stars: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jim Carrey, John Leguizamo
Screenwriter: Jeff Wadlow
Director: Jeff Wadlow, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
The Plot: The anti-superhero movie from 2010 finally gets a sequel, this time with high school hero Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson) joining forces with a group of costumed normal citizens (with no super powers whatsoever) to fight the newly reborn (and hilariously re-named) Red Mist (Mintz-Plasse).
The Skinny: Original film helmer Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) was still involved as a producer, but he handed the reigns over to Cry Wolf director Wadlow. “What I loved about the first film is it took this idea of applying real world rules to a comic book premise,” says Wadlow who also loved creating the “Kick-Ass version of The Avengers.”
“Obviously, nobody is the Incredible Hulk, so they have to fight differently,” he adds. “They have to fight hard or fight by breaking the rules and fighting dirty. Some don’t even fight well. The first Kick-Ass came out at a time when the superhero movies were reaching their zenith and it walked this incredible tightrope embracing why we love superhero movies and taking the piss out of them. The sequel is about embracing why we love superhero movies, while also taking the piss out of [The Avengers], which is one of the greatest superhero team movies ever made.”
The Producer// This sequel was the biggest surprise since Hellboy 2. But while the first film was largely ignored, the power of fandom willed this into existence. That’s geek clout.
The Fanboy// Kick-Ass was everything I wanted from an off-brand costume movie. Edgy and irreverent in a way no Marvel or DC movie will ever be.
The Webmaster// It’s a Christmas miracle!
The Screenwriter// Or our worst nightmare.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Release: August 23
Stars: Lena Headey, Lily Collins, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jamie Campbell Bower
Screenwriters: I. Marlene King, Jessica Postigo, based on the novel by Cassandra Clare
Director: Harald Zwart
The Plot: Another post-Twilight attempt at sucking at the teet of the tween moviegoing contingent with this story of a girl whose mother is kidnapped and slowly finds herself thrown into a hidden supernatural world involving demons where she discovers she’s not exactly who she thinks she is.
The Fanboy// I get a distinct Constantine vibe from the trailer. Anyone remember Constantine?
The Producer// I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction, so not sure what to make of this. The trailer is underwhelming.
The Webmaster// Camelot’s King Arthur plays a half-angel demon hunter, who must teach a teenage girl — who is likely to be some sort of chosen one — how to save the world from the forces of evil. Seems pretty straightforward, but seems to aim a bit young for my taste.
The Screenwriter// Look, people, The Hunger Games and Twilight were huge because those books were huge. Not “well-liked,” not “popular.” HUGE. Huge enough to fight a monster in Pacific Rim. Remember how audiences flocked to Percy Jackson? Of course, you don’t.
Release: September 6
Stars: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Screenwriter: David Twohy
Director: David Twohy
The Plot: Riddick (Diesel) versus aliens again as he finds himself abandoned on a planet surrounded by alien predators, while also being pursued by bounty hunters.
The Fanboy// Hopefully, this will get back to more of the vibe of Pitch Black instead of Dune II like the last movie.
The Producer// Exactly. David Twohy went and made a huge, epic sequel to a film that worked exactly because it was small and claustrophobic. Pitch Black is one of the great low budget, sci-fi films of the last decade and evokes the spirit of films like The Terminator. So, hopefully Riddick will take its cues from that film rather than the bloated Chronicles of Riddick.
The Webmaster// My initial thought was “Why?” Pitch Black was good, but Chronicles sucked. But Diesel and Twohy really fought for this one, and Urban and Sackhoff are both awesome. And early word is that this will be the best of the trilogy.
The Screenwriter// Twohy is one of the most underappreciated creators in the business. He lost his discipline a bit with Chronicles, but, with a short leash, Riddick could be great.
Images: Columbia Pictures, Summit Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures